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UK trip 15 May 2005: Monastery and Essex Girls

15 May 2015

Continued from UK trip 14 May 2005: cathedral & monastery | Khanya

I woke up about 4:30 am in the guest room at the Monastery of St John the Baptist at Tolleshunt Knights in Essex,  and began drafting a report on Orthodox Theological Education by Extension as a result of my conversations with Fr Michael Harper yesterday (some of the ideas in that document may be found here). The Hours and Divine Liturgy followed at 7:00 am — it was mostly in English. We had thought of going to the later one at 10:15, but on hearing that it was mainly in Greek, opted for the earlier one.

Chapel at the monastery of St John the Baptist, Tolleshunt Knights, Essex. 15 May 2005

Chapel at the monastery of St John the Baptist, Tolleshunt Knights, Essex. 15 May 2005

There was breakfast in the small refectory afterwards, and then Sister Seraphima showed us round the monastery, and we gave her one of the fridge magnet ikons that our daughter Bridget had painted of St Seraphim of Sarov. It comprised both male and female monasteries.

Mosnastery of St Joghn rthe Baptist

Monastery of St John the Baptist

On one of the buildings of the monastery there was a mosaic of Noah’s Ark with all the animals, and Sister Seraphima pointed out a seagull that had been worked on by a member of our parish of St Nicholas of Japan in Brixton, Johannesburg, Ellie Mullinos, who had stayed at the monastery a few years before (Ellie Mullinos is the oldest member of St Nicholas, and celebrated her 100th birthday a couple of years ago).

Mosaic at the Monastery of St John the Baptist. The seagull made by Ellie Mullinos is in the top left-hand corner.

Mosaic at the Monastery of St John the Baptist. The seagull made by Ellie Mullinos is in the top right-hand corner.

We left about 12:00 and drove to Colchester, where we had lunch at a pub, and looked round some of the shops, and then began looking for “Ye Olde Swan” hotel where we were booked to stay, but could not find it in the High Street, so we phoned it, and found that it was in Brightlingsea, and not in Colchester, and was about 9 miles out of town. We drove out there, booked in, and then went back to Colchester and found St Botolph’s Church, where August Decker and Mary Morton had been married, and took some photos of the church and the old priory there, though the church itself had been built only about 20 years before they had been married in it.

St Botolph's Church, Colchester, Essex, with the ruins of the old priory in the foregrouind. 15 May 2005

St Botolph’s Church, Colchester, Essex, with the ruins of the old priory in the foregrouind. 15 May 2005

Mary Morton was Val’s great great grandmother, an Essex girl, and was married at the age of 13. Two of her sisters were married in the same church on the same day, and all three of them were married to German soldiers. You can read more of that story here. It seems that Essex girls were going cheap that day, and still are, according to this shop window in Colchester High Street…

We had heard about Essex girls befgore coming to England, and it seems that some of the things we had heard were true.

We had heard about Essex girls before coming to England, and it seemed that some of the things we had heard were true.

Though actually these three Essex girls had quite a tough life in the Eastern Cape in the 1860s.

We went into the church, where they were preparing for a “united service”, and were setting up an enormous sound system. It only started at 8:00 pm, however, so we thought we would not stay for it.

St Botolph's Church, Colchester, Essex.

St Botolph’s Church, Colchester, Essex.

We drove back to Brightlingsea and walked round the harbour, and then back to Ye Olde Swan, but they did not serve supper, so we went to the Raj Indian Restaurant nearby, which served very good breyani.

Hotel in Brightlingsea, Essex. 15 May 2005

Hotel in Brightlingsea, Essex. 15 May 2005

We went to sleep in our Tudor room, with low doors and creaking floors and original Tudor beams. Like most of the places we have stayed in, except the first, they did not provide a table to write on.

Continued at UK trip 16 May 2005: Brightlingsea to Twickenham | Notes from underground

Index to all posts on our UK trip here UK Holiday May 2005

2 Comments leave one →
  1. transitionislandmersea permalink
    15 May 2015 7:40 am

    If I had realised you were coming near me I would have said hello!

    • 17 May 2015 7:39 am

      And I would have tried to make contact, but I didn’t know you or your blog then!

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